16 April 2013

Anthrax - Sound of White Noise



When is it the best time to change your lead vocalist?  Is it after your most successful release in your history or when things are going wrong?  Prior to the recording of this album, Anthrax sacked their previous vocalist Joey Belladonna and brought in John Bush who used to single in Armored Saint vocalist John Bush.  This was also the last to feature Dan Spitz as well.  For those of you that do not know, Anthrax is a trash metal band who formed in 1981 in New York, America.  For the early part of their career they were perceived as a comedy trash band, which was not helped by the band wearing Bermuda shorts, I love New York t-shirts and songs like "I Am The Law" (for the record is a great song). With this release, their sixth studio album and Dave Jerden) the band went for a more mature sound, but did the gamble payoff.

Now, even without this album, John Bush is a better vocalist than Joey Belladonna. This is a fact for anyone blessed with the gift of hearing. Sorry if you feel otherwise, but you are just wrong.  The band made a sonic improvement on this album; they just became a different beast.  Yes, they did not have all the silly songs.  Yes, there was more emphasis on the metal than the trash. Yes, they still did songs about stories (Twin Peaks and American Psycho being two topics).  But, the actual song writing just went up a notch. Songs like "Only", "Potters Field" and "Packaged Rebellion" could not have been done by the old Anthrax and the fact they managed to get to that point was fantastic for me when it was released.

Coming in at around the 1 hour mark this album is a shining light for metal from 1993 which was being swamped by grunge at the time.  It was just some nice to hear "Black Lodge" at the time, which had for me at least more heart and soul than anything from Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden combined.  The most common print of this album now has the bonus tracks of "London" (cover of The Smiths classic), Auf Wiedersehen (cover of Cheap Trick) and the Thin Lizzy standard "Cowboy Song".  This is actually a very good package but the covers are hardly essential.  From the very beginning to the last note of "This Is Not An Exit" you would be hard done to find a more compelling Anthrax release.  Yes some of their earlier releases we fun for other reasons, and they are rightly held as classics.  I just think that this should also be held in that light as well, albeit for different reason.  It took me 15 years to get one of the other bloggers Mr Jerm to revisit this and even he has seen it is good.  Maybe you should too.....

8.5 out of time - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

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You can visit the band's website here

You can listen to it here on Spotify

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